‘We shall compete for the title,’ says Van Gaal

By , Posted on 21st September 2015 - Posted in: Sports And Design

Source: Premier League

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says the 3-2 victory at Southampton on Sunday is a statement that his side are able to compete for the Barclays Premier League title.

“We have made a statement that we shall compete for the title”
Louis van Gaal

The St Mary’s Stadium victory, sealed with two goals from Anthony Martial and one from Juan Mata, means United have now won four of their opening six fixtures, leaving them in second place and two points behind leaders Manchester City.

“It’s a fantastic result away at Southampton and I think we have made a statement that we shall compete for the title,” Van Gaal told mutv. “What I am saying all the time is that we have to improve.

“We have to improve our team and when we improve our team, last season we were fourth so maybe we can be third now. But last year we were close enough to be the champions. I have said that we were very close last year. When you remember the match against Chelsea away, it was very close but we did not score at the time.”

United had to come from behind at Southampton after a goal from Graziano Pelle on 13 minutes. Martial continued his impressive start to his Manchester United career with two well-taken goals either side of half-time before Mata added a third following a 44-pass move with 22 minutes left on the clock.

Manchester United players celebrate Juan Mata's goal at Southampton

Manchester United players celebrate Juan Mata’s goal at Southampton

Pelle grabbed a late second for Saints but United were not to be denied and afterwards Van Gaal hailed the display of Martial, who has already scored three goals in two BPL appearances since moving from Monaco at the start of the month.

“I have to say he is doing great,” Van Gaal said. “You cannot expect consistency from a player of 19 years of age. Emotionally, they shall have a lot of dips so that I expect also from him but that is not a big problem for me.

“I’m very happy his talent is at a high level and he adapts to the system of how we want to play. That’s also important. Not every player can adapt in that system but he shows he wants to do that and he can do that. That is not so easy.”

 

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman said his players only had themselves to blame as their stuttering start to the 2015/16 campaign continued. Saints are in 16th place in the BPL table after claiming one victory from their opening six league matches

Koeman was particularly unhappy with Southampton’s defending in the build-up to the second goal, when Martial took full advantage of a backpass that did not have enough strength.

“I am disappointed because in my opinion we lost by ourselves today,” Koeman said. “The first 30 minutes were perfect in how we like to play and how we like to test our opponents. It was a great team performance, but details make the difference.

“I hate players, and it’s in general, who always play the ball back to the goalkeeper. Play the ball in the space in front because then you can put the pressure on them.

“We saw the weaknesses of Man Utd defensively. Every day we tell the players don’t play it back to the goalkeeper, but I will tell them tomorrow the same story because it’s always a risk.

“We have to learn from that, we did it last year and we did it today again. We lost by ourselves.”